Hello again. I wanted to share a bit today about leg pain in running. First a little background. I started running cross-country in high school and loved it. All my friends were runners and we would go out on the weekends and run together. Most times for cross-country practice the team would first run from the school to wherever the running workout was going to be. Needless to say, I logged a lot of miles a week. It was routine for us to run 10-15 miles on any given day. I never had any pain whatsoever. Now, keep in mind that I was a 110 pound 16-year-old, but whatever :). The only pain I ever had was an iliotibial band pain that was cured with more stretching.
Then I graduated and moved out of the house to go to college. I stopped running so many miles but still kept running several times a week. No problem. Then as the years went by and I got into nursing school, I stopped running altogether. After I graduated (several years later) I started running again, and ever since then I have been plagued with a pain on both sides of my shins….That’s right… drumroll please….the dreaded shin splints. No matter what I have tried, I cannot get rid of these things. It usually leads me to stop running, heal, and then restart running again. Normally when you have shin splints, the cause is something like increasing your mileage to quickly, running with your heals striking the pavement, running on hard surfaces too much, etc. The treatment is usually dependent on why you are having the pain. Usually, you would decrease your mileage (or stop running if you are having severe pain), ice the area after each run, run on soft surfaces, take ibuprofen, stretch, and the pain goes away. Also, make sure you have good shoes. One can never overestimate the importance of great shoes!
But for me, I have tried all these things, in varying combinations, and nothing ever worked. So, this time about a month ago when I started having sudden severe pain in my right shin, I went to the doctor. She sent me to a sports medicine physician. Good news was that it was actually in my office building so that was easy to find. Bad news was that I went on my day off. Boo hoo. Anyway, he took x-rays to make sure there were no fractures, which gladly there weren’t. Ultimately, an MRI is needed if you really think the pain is so severe that you might have fractured your bone, but my pain is really diffuse and not concentrated in one little area, so I am in the clear. He also had me perform lots of little movements against resistance. The verdict is that I have weak muscles in my core, hips and ankles. So, physical therapy is in my future. Now, I have gone to physical therapy for a back injury in the past, and it worked, but I HATED it!!! So, we are trying to let me just do the exercises at home on my own and see if that helps. We will see.
I thought that the little exercises would be really easy but they are really hard! Probably the reason why I need to do them right? I think they are supposed to be easy…you know… If I wasn’t so weak! 🙂
So, I started doing other workouts in addition to my running to help strengthen my core long term. Enter…Pure Barre workouts. I have done Pure Barre workouts in the past, but not routinely. For those of you who don’t know, Pure Barre is a workout designed to have strength and flexibility in mind. It is a cross between ballet moves and Pilates. It really targets those little muscles that I don’t routinely use in everyday life or when running. So, I have embarked on a 30 day challenge where I do a Pure Barre workout daily. I am hoping this will help me strengthen my core, hips and ankles so these pesky shin splints will be a thing of the past. I will keep you posted.